Where can I find a counsellor?

If you are an immigrant or a refugee fleeing a crisis zone, or you chose to come to Canada and are struggling with feelings of isolation and culture shock, if you are worried about finding housing and a job to support your family, know that there are places you can go to find support. Free counselling is available through a number of programs in Calgary. These programs will help you access professional counselling anonymously and confidentially, allowing you to process your feelings and emotions so you can return to a normal life. The following programs provide counselling for individuals, children, youth, seniors, and families:

Where to Find Free Counselling for Newcomer Families and Individuals

The Refugees & Newcomers Emotional Wellness (ReNEW) program, originally funded by the Calgary Foundation, provides access to emotional support and professional counselling for recently arrived refugees and newcomers. Clients and walk-in participants are assisted with either a one-on-one consultation or arrangements to see a professional counsellor.

To book a session with a counsellor, please contact CIES at 403-291-0002 to schedule an appointment.

Link to website

A program that supports immigrants, refugees, and their families after trauma. The Centre embraces strengths-based, holistic practices that recognize and build on each client’s resilience. It also offers accessible, trauma-focused therapy for all ages (children and youth, adults, parents, and individuals).

Link to website

The ethos program provides culturally sensitive support for immigrant and refugee children, youth, and their families addressing post-traumatic stress and its related issues. The program includes:

  • Individual, art, and group therapy
  • Parent support and education
  • Outreach education to schools, professionals, and community organizations
  • Support to children, youth, and their families on the underlying stress issues relating to the experience of trauma, migration, resettlement, acculturation, socio-economic barriers and isolation

Link to website

This program is offered in individual, group or couples’ counselling sessions in multiple languages. These sessions address topics such as anger management, conflict resolution, effective communication, stress management, domestic violence and family relationships.

The group program is 12 weeks long. However, the individual program length is customizable according to each individual’s needs. Participants must register and attend an in-person, intake session prior to being admitted into the program.

If you need more information or would like to make an appointment please email counselling@immigrantservicescalgary.ca or call 403-444-1508.

Link to website

This program provides professional counselling to immigrants and refugees.  Services are available for individuals, couples and families who are struggling with different kinds of issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Anger management
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Life transitions
  • Loss and grief
  • Parenting issues
  • Self-esteem
  • Marital conflicts
  • and other concerns

Services are offered in many different languages with skilled and experienced counsellors.  If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, please contact the Mosaic Multicultural Counselling Program at 403-444-1508 or email Counselling@immigrantservicescalgary.ca.

Link to website

This program provides immigrant women (including seniors and youth) the opportunity to become involved in the community and develop a sense of belonging. Free childcare and first-language support is available. Program choices include:

  • One-on-one individual counseling
  • Group counselling sessions
  • Educational sessions and peer discussion groups
  • Group wellness and community engagement activities
  • In-home support for needy clients
  • Intergenerational activities between seniors and youth

For more information or to enrol in the program, please email familyservices@ciwa-online.com or call 403-263-4414.

Link to website

This free counselling service provides help for men who are concerned that their anger and abusive behaviours are negatively impacting their family members. Counsellors will work with clients on anger and violence prevention.

To make an appointment, call 403-299-9680.

Link to website

Provides no-fee, walk-in counselling for children, youth, and families for assistance with mental health concerns, life stressors, family stress, relationship issues and referrals to other community resources.

For more information, call 403-299-9699, text 587-315-5000, live chat online, or visit:

Northgate Mall

255-495 36 Street NE

Monday to Thursday: 11 am – 7 pm

Friday: 11 am – 6 pm

Saturday: 11 am – 4 pm

Sunday: Closed

Link to website

This group counselling program focuses on healing trauma related to substance abuse, traumatic events, violence, abusive relationships, self-harm, depression, or anxiety. Sessions take place on weekday evenings for 2 hours at a time in a central location. Clients are divided into appropriate age and gender groupings to ensure clients are comfortable in their counselling environment.

Sign up for the Seeking Safety waiting list here.

Link to website

All counselling services at the Distress Centre are completely free, offering you emergency and long-term counselling with professional staff. Services include:

  • 24 hour support/urgent support
  • Crises Line-403-266-HELP(4357)
  • Offered in 200 languages
  • Hearing Impaired- 403-543-1967
  • Email: help@distresscentre.com (although this email is not monitored 24 hours a day, it is a good way to ask about non-urgent matters)
  • Online support
  • The online crises chat line is available 3:00 pm-10:00 pm (Monday-Friday) and from 12:00 pm-10:00 pm (Sat &Sun)

Link to website

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Naveen Tariq and Whitney Loewen for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.